Touring the Santa Barbara Public Market

Apr 21, 2014 / By admin
Posted in Good Ideas / Kitchen Adventures / Other Places / Places

Steel and glass and succulents outline the Santa Barbara Public Market, a paradise of flavor that opened its doors this April 14th. The well-lit market greeted me with wafts of desire. Upon entering, I thought I had been transported to Manhattan’s Eataly or some futuristic iteration of the Reading Terminal Market I grew up salivating over.

I passed by a glass case of fresh pasta – squid ink strands and striped torteloni, hand-formed orichiette and bands of papardelle. To my right was a bank of tinted glass barrels full of golden green olive oils, all harvested in California, sat ready for tasting. Passing by Culture Counter I learned about Brillant Savarign cheese, how to pronounce it and the about the eponymous general from a consummate Frenchman with sophisticated glasses frames. Cases of aged beef and whole corvina cradled a busy noodle bar and a… Read more»

Witnessing Oakland, and musing over matzoh brei

Apr 18, 2014 / By admin
Posted in Featured / Good Ideas / Places / San Francisco Bay Area

Eating a plateful of matzoh brei got me thinking. Not of the escaped slaves fleeing across deserts with no time for leavening, but of baseball. And Oakland.

Will the A’s stay or will they go? This question has been itching the back of my brain for years now, teasing with the taunts of Fremont, Jack London Square, and now the Coliseum City project, which is not quite settled.

After there seemed a lull in talk about the A’s moving south to Fremont, I was shocked back to attention when I talked to Peerless Coffee and East Bay Restaurant Supply’s second and third generation owners. They told me there was an idea of calling imminent domain and creating a new ballpark on their footprints in the eastern part of Jack London Square. It would be hard, even impossible for them to relocate within city limits.

Now, as our mayor Jean Quan enters the… Read more»

Art in the redwoods at Gualala Arts Center

Feb 13, 2014 / By admin
Posted in Good Ideas / Northern California Wine Country / Other Places / Places

Along a delightfully quiet bit of California’s northern coast sits an unexpected cultural hub: Gualala. Too far north for most day trippers, and too far south to borrow the efficiency of the 101 and then cut through Anderson Valley, this spellbinding portion of shoreline is left to those with extra chutzpah, who take the manta “it’s the journey…” literally.

The area is sheltered from the colder ocean gusts that are common in Mendocino County’s namesake town by the arm of land jutting out from nearby Point Arena. Redwood tree spires ascend from Gualala River as you enter town. The Gualala Arts Center is the first right turn if you are arriving from the south on the 1.

The parking lot is itself a gallery, with sculptures from mostly regional artists. Polished steel curves, sloping bricks painted with the unmistakable silhouette of the wise raven, modern totems rise from the… Read more»

The Bay Model, Sausalito’s unexpected treasure

Feb 6, 2014 / By admin
Posted in Featured / Good Ideas / Places / San Francisco Bay Area

It’s uncanny the number of times I’ve mentioned the Bay Model this month. After a recent trip to the un- art galleried end of Sausalito, where the hangar-size building sits, the miniature construction of the regions waterways has been imprinted on my mind. I can’t cross the Bay Bridge without thinking of the range of water depths below; I can see the little tags whispering up and down as the tide ebbs on the model.

The Army Corps of Engineers created and relied upon this exact Bay Model for years before computer systems had sufficient technology to keep the water level safe. Boat traffic, radio signals, flood control, and water management are just a few of the systems which rely upon the model, keeping citizens blissfully unaware of the forces around them, keeping us safe.

Creating the model also gave us a picture of our environment, and today at… Read more»

The Beginnings of Bergerac

Sep 25, 2013 / By Serena
Posted in DIY / Good Ideas / Night Owl / Places / San Francisco Bay Area

A night out in San Francisco wouldn’t be the same without a well-made cocktail. Sure, there’s every segment of libation personality in the City by the Bay – the Pabst-in-the-front-yarders, the champagne-onlys, the microbrew geeks, the hardcore whiskey buffs – but my personal favorite, lately, anyway, are surely the proper ice set. Within this dynamic bunch are many shades of bartenders whose attention to detail elevates even the grittiest of strong drinks.

Enter Bergerac, a new addition to what I now call the Folsom “curve” end of Soma on 11th. The attractive bohemian space at 316 11th is enlivened by an equally appealing line up of internationally-inspired cocktails, all mixed with the perfect ice. My utterly Spanish ‘Red Medicine’ – a blend of peppery red wine, Mexican Coke, and a sparkling dose of housemaid cinnamon syrup – included an alluring display of ice-chipping off a pristine counter-top block.… Read more»